SEOUL (Reuters) - All eyes will be on new Brazilian international signings Oscar and Hulk when big spenders Shanghai SIPG begin their Asian Champions League Group F campaign at FC Seoul on Tuesday.
The Chinese Super League club spent a reported 100 million pounds ($124.58 million) to sign the pair from Chelsea and Zenit St Petersburg respectively in December, having previously hired former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Oscar, who earns about 400,000 pounds a week according to media reports, and Hulk are expected to start at the FC Seoul stadium against the 2013 tournament runners-up.
“Oscar and Hulk are completely fine, very well integrated with the team,” Villas-Boas told a news conference on Monday.
Villas-Boas, making his coaching debut in the group stages, said: “Both teams are in a little bit of an experimental phase. I think what both teams want is a good result tomorrow because it can mean a good start for the season.”
FC Seoul will have to prove they can be formidable without Brazilian forward Adriano, last season’s top scorer in the competition with 13 goals. He is now on the books of Chinese side Shijiazhuang Ever Bright FC.
Seoul FC coach Hwang Sun-hong expects his team to struggle against a Shanghai attack that now has more glamour and talent.
“I think it will be difficult to deal with them,” he said in a news conference. “Stronger pressure and team play will be needed, so we have been preparing for that.”
($1 = 0.8027 pounds)
Reporting by Adriana Garcia; editing by Ken Ferris